Legionnaires’ disease

What is legionella and Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionella are bacteria that are common in natural (rivers and lakes etc.) and artificial water systems, e.g. hot and cold water systems (storage tanks, pipework, taps and showers). We usually associate legionella with larger water systems, e.g. in factories, hotels, hospitals and museums, and cooling towers, but they can also live in smaller water supply systems used in
homes and other residential accommodation. Other potential sources of legionella include spa and whirlpool baths, humidifiers (in factories) and fire-fighting systems (sprinklers and hose reels). Legionella can survive in low temperatures, but thrive at temperatures between 20C and 45C. High temperatures of 60C and over will kill them.

The Risk

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the legionella bacteria. It can affect anybody, but some people are at higher risk including those over 45, smokers and heavy drinkers, those suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease, and people whose immune system is impaired. Legionellosis is the collective name given to the pneumonia-like illnesses caused by legionella bacteria, including the most serious and well-known Legionnaires’ disease, and also the similar but less serious conditions of Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever.

Control Measures

As your landlord we will:
Assess the risks of legionella and Legionnaires’ disease at the property prior to letting and take action as appropriate. A copy of the risk assessment will be provided in the Welcome Folder left in the property.

Precautions tenants should take to reduce the risk

1. Notify us if of any problems experienced with the hot water supply. In particular if the temperature appears “luke-warm” (less than 50oC).
2. If the shower head becomes dirty or scaled up tenants should clean and de-scale it.
3. All water units (taps, showers etc) should be flushed through at least once a week if left unused including and on return from holiday.
4. Please raise any other concerns with us